The Wishing Tree Series
From the publisher:
Welcome to Wishing Tree, where the magic of Christmas in July will bring you home in this heartwarming story by #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery.
Some heartbreaks hit harder than others. For Shaye Harper, the last one was so bad she swore off men for good. Wishing Tree, Washington, was supposed to be a pit stop on the road to a fresh start, but Shaye is swiftly drawn in by the quirky small town’s celebrations—and a handsome stranger she can’t resist.
After deployments around the world, army vet Lawson Easley knows there’s no place better than his hometown. And he’s determined to stay right here, forever. Too bad the first woman who feels like “the one” is just passing through. The more time he spends with Shaye, the more he knows that she’s the piece his heart’s been missing.
Swept up by the joyful summer festivities and Lawson’s obvious affection, Shaye starts to feel she belongs. Here, with him. She never meant to end up in Wishing Tree. Then again, she never meant to fall in love…
I love Susan Mallery, and when I heard she has a new series coming out, I was all in. The first book in the series is The Christmas Wedding Guest and comes out 9/29/21, but this little novella was published as an ebook (and on Audible) to get a jump on it. I generally don’t like novellas very much, but this one sounded so intriguing I ***BOUGHT the book!*** Just FYI, as a reviewer and librarian, I have access to millions of books and I rarely buy any, other than as gifts. So it is a very big deal that I bought this one! And it was worth it.
This is a Christmas series. The setting is this small town that is just crazy for Christmas. The town square is round and called The Wreath. The street names often have Christmas themes. And they are a big tourist destination, even in summer, with their Christmas in July celebration.
Shaye has had one bad relationship too many and is done with men. She decides to start over somewhere new, and heads to Seattle. But on the way she stops off for a hand pie in this charming little town. Then she notices a large group of people running what seems to be a 5K, but they are all wearing reindeer antler headbands! Not something you see every day. Luckily, a good looking man is nearby and explains about the Christmas in July celebration.
Lawson and Shaye hang out for a while. She decides to stay for the celebration, and Lawson finds her a room in a beautiful old Victorian home with a lovely landlady. The hand pie shop has a help wanted sign and needs a temp, and she decides to go for it. A month long detour is of no consequence as she knows no one in Seattle and has no job or home lined up.
Lawson seems too good to be true after the run of bad luck she’s had with men. So she keeps him at a distance. Lawson isn’t looking for a long term relationship, but something about Shaye really appeals to him. Meanwhile, she starts making friends in town and getting involved in the celebration.
Shaye and Lawson realize they have feelings for each other, but she keeps telling him she’s leaving. Until she starts to rethink her decision. She has nothing in Seattle, and Wishing Tree is starting to feel like home. Especially with Lawson.
It really speaks to Mallery’s skill that I didn’t feel like I missed anything with the novella. The characters felt real and three dimensional, the setting was quirky and fun, and the romance was terrific. I can’t wait for the “first” book in the series!
9/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
SAY YOU’LL STAY by Susan Mallery. HQN Books (July 1, 2021). ASIN: B08WKK1RXF. 100 pages.